Tuesday, October 06, 2009

NY Times: Childhood: Autism Diagnoses Rising, U.S. Reports

More than 1 in 100 American children and teenagers may have autism, Asperger’s syndrome or a related developmental problem, although such diagnoses often do not hold up, according to a government report released on Monday.

The estimate, based on a telephone survey of some 78,000 households and published in the journal Pediatrics, is the highest yet of the prevalence of so-called autism spectrum disorders, which include everything from severe autism to milder social difficulties to “pervasive developmental disorder,” a description given to many troubled children.

Nearly 40 percent of the children in the study who were given such a diagnosis grew out of it or no longer qualified for it, the study found. The estimate is based on those whose parents said they were currently struggling with one of the disorders.

Prevalence estimates for autism-related disorders have increased so quickly over the past decade — to 1 in 150 in 2007, from 1 in 300 in the early 2000s — that researchers have debated whether the disorder is in fact becoming more common or is simply diagnosed more often.

The new survey is not likely to settle the question. “This is an excellent study, but what it looks at is the prevalence of the diagnosis, not the disorder,” said Dr. Susan L. Hyman, a pediatrician at Golisano Children’s Hospital in Rochester. “The next step scientifically is to see whether those diagnoses are being made accurately.”

Huh. Funny how this big news just didn't get me all fired up. We've known this is rising and we all talk about it constantly. We live it, but amongst ourselves. Until a friend got me thinking about this "news", I figured I should post something from an acceptable media outlet like the New York Times. Reminds me of the feeling I had watching Autism Speaks or Jenny McCarthy get plastered all over the news the last few years. A little invasive into my personal world. Especially the recovery part, it made me a bit paranoid. A good invasion of course!
It's "the" talk for now. What will, if anything, people DO about it? What will change? 1 in 150 wasn't rock bottom. Will 1 in 94 be?

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